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Global Stocks Hit Another Record High, Ignore Slowing Chinese Trade

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following a sleepy overnight session, US futures are flat as are markets in Europe, while Asian stocks rose despite overnight trade data from China which unexpectedly missed across the board. As reported last night, Chinese export growth was the slowest since February while Import growth the weakest since Dec 2016, as both missed consensus estimtes.

Paradoxically, the bad report sent the MSCI EM Asia stock index higher for a third day to its highest since November 2007, with the poor Chinese trade data promptly spun as positive: "It looks like China’s trade data is taken as a half-full omen with the softer (than expected) exports mitigating risks of U.S. protectionism,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank in Singapore."

Continuing an unprecedented run of record highs, global stocks inched up to a new all-time high on Tuesday, shrugging off China's data. The MSCI's all-country world index ticked up to set a new record high at 480.76 points. It was last up less than 0.1 percent at 480.54 points. The index, which tracks shares in 46 countries, is on track for longest monthly winning streak since 2003. According to Reuters, "shares across the globe have been hitting record highs in record low volatility supported by a benign environment for global growth."

"Data continue to suggest a synchronized global expansion across both advanced and emerging market economies. Spill-overs from the rebound in emerging market demand are reflected in the fastest growth in world trade since 2010," said Fitch chief economist Brian Coulton.

The Chinese trade data was so poor, pardon great, the Chinese yuan (and South Korean won) led gains as emerging Asian currencies advance on a broadly weaker U.S. dollar.  The onshore yuan strengthened as much as 0.4% to 6.6970 vs USD for biggest intraday rally since July 27, rising above 6.7 for the first time since October.

In currency markets, the dollar dipped for a second consecutive day after rising on Friday following stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs numbers, which some analysts said bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further. However, many in markets remain unpersuaded the Fed will increase the cost of borrowing again this year. St Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Monday the central bank could leave rates where they are for now because inflation was not likely to rise much.

"(They) seemed to oppose further rate hikes. That means they exactly reflect the current market expectations, which are limiting the dollar’s appreciation," wrote analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt in a morning note to clients. "It is still inflation that poses the problem," they added

Overnight the Aussie dollar advanced on rising business confidence but – unlike the Yuan – was weighed down by disappointing China trade data. The Euro rose for second day as upside momentum remains strong, and last Friday's strong payrolls beat is largely forgotten. West Texas Intermediate crude started on the back foot but reversed during European hours; WTI crude continued its rise, and is rapidly approaching $50 again: the question is whether it can take out the resistance level and hold above it. 

This morning, all eyes will be on the South Africa’s rand as lawmakers prepare to decide the fate of President Jacob Zuma in a secret ballot at 2:00pm local time (8:00am ET). The currency steadied after yesterday’s jump even as 1-week implied vol surged to a 4 month high.

Markets remain in a holding pattern, with investors seeking catalysts amid the summer slowdown and the S&P hasn't moved more than 0.3% intraday for 13 consecutive days: the longest stretch on record. The focal point of this week looks set to be Friday’s U.S. inflation data, which will be key to the interest-rate outlook of the world’s biggest economy, Bloomberg writes. Two Federal Reserve officials said on Monday that soft inflation was a problem, but played down the risk of market disruption when the central bank starts shrinking its balance sheet.

“Markets are in sleep mode,” Hussein Sayed, a strategist at Forextime Ltd., a retail currency broker, wrote in an emailed note. “Limited news flow is what can be blamed for the narrow trading ranges, but expect this to change as we get closer to Friday’s U.S. CPI release.”

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan proved relatively resilient, inching up 0.2 percent and back toward decade highs. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 0.6 percent. South Korea dipped 0.2 percent, while Japan's Nikkei eased 0.3 percent and China's main markets edged up 0.1 percent.  Japan’s Topix index fell 0.2 percent at the close with SoftBank Group Co. declining even after profit topped estimates. Sony Corp. gained after it was added to the JPX-Nikkei Index 400. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.5 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 0.2 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was slightly weaker, headed for a second day of declines as most benchmark gauges in the region fell, though moves were not large. Germany’s DAX Index declined less than 0.05 percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index sank 0.1 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index rose less than 0.05 percent to the highest on record. Energy company shares rose as oil prices steadied from recent falls as sources told Reuters Saudi Arabia would cut crude supplies next month.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index dipped 0.1 percent to 2,475.25. Treasuries were little changed before a $24 billion three-year note auction, the first of three debt sales this week.

In currencies, the euro climbed 0.1 percent to $1.1814. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent, the largest fall in more than a week on a closing basis. The British pound declined less than 0.05 percent to $1.3044. South Africa’s rand rose less than 0.05 percent to 13.2396 per dollar.

In rates, the yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 2.26%. Britain’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 1.14%.

In commodities, gold gained 0.2 percent to $1,260.24 an ounce, the biggest rise in more than a week. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.6% to $49.48 a barrel, the highest in more than a week.

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk

  • European equities trade with little in the way of firm direction. Miners underperform post-Chinese trade data
  • FX markets also trade in a tentative manner with newsflow light throughout the EU session thus far
  • Looking ahead, highlights include JOLTS, APIs and a US 3yr note auction

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.06% to 2,476.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.05% to 381.83
  • MSCI up 0.1% to 161.47
  • MSCI ex Asia up 0.2% to 532.62
  • Nikkei down 0.3% to 19,996.01
  • Topix down 0.2% to 1,635.32
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 27,854.91
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.07% to 3,281.87
  • Sensex down 0.8% to 32,028.33
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 5,743.75
  • Kospi down 0.2% to 2,394.73
  • Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,260.97
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.2% to 93.30
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.4 bps to 0.455%
  • Euro up 0.2% to 1.1813 per US$
  • Brent Futures up 0.3% to $52.54/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 2.7 bps to 1.703%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 2.1 bps to 1.438%

Top Overnight News

  • Republicans struggling to pass a major tax overhaul that doesn’t add to the federal deficit are discussing a kind of compromise: mixing permanent revisions with temporary rate cuts for individuals and businesses
  • St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Minneapolis’s Neel Kashkari said soft U.S. inflation was a problem, broadly in line with expectations that officials will keep interest rates on hold when they meet next month and announce the start of a gradual process to trim their holdings of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.
  • South Africa’s rand could surge if President Jacob Zuma is ousted by a motion of no confidence in the nation’s parliament, though gains would reverse if Zuma survives the vote, analysts say
  • China’s trade surplus widened for a fifth month in July as export growth remained solid and imports moderated, keeping the spotlight on a trade gap U.S. President Donald Trump aims to narrow
  • Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences
  • Citigroup Agrees to $130 Million Settlement of Libor Claims
  • China’s Trade Surplus Widens for Fifth Month as Imports Moderate
  • Pfizer Is Said to Weigh Sale of Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
  • Liberty Global 2Q Operating Cash Flow Beats Highest Estimate
  • Rental Car Stocks May Move After Avis Cuts Profit Forecast
  • InterContinental First Half Revenue Misses Estimates
  • Pandora CEO Warns of Challenging U.S. Market Ahead; Shares Sink
  • McDonald’s to Increase Restaurants in China to 4,500 from 2,500
  • Disney, Fox May Move After Positive Ad Market Comments From CBS
  • AMD to Shift Some Orders to TSMC: Commercial Times
  • China Keeps More Steel at Home as Exports Tumble to 2013 Low
  • Wells Fargo Is Said to Face SF Fed Inquiry on Car Insurance: NYT

Asian equity markets failed to sustain the momentum from the record closes seen in DJIA and S&P 500, as sentiment in the region soured amid relatively quiet news flow and as participants digested the latest Chinese trade data. ASX 200 (-0.6%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) saw early selling pressure, with the Australian market the underperformer on broad based declines, aside from the mining sector which remained resilient after continued gains in iron ore prices. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.1%) were initially subdued after Chinese Imports and Exports both missed estimates, while regulatory concerns also persisted with the PBoC seeking to tighten fintech rules to prevent risks. However, both indices then recovered heading into the close. 10yr JGBs were flat as demand failed to garner support from the deterioration of risk tone in the region, while the 30yr auction was also uneventful with the results relatively in-line with the previous month.

  • Chinese Trade Balance (CNY) (Jul) 321.2bln vs. Exp. 293.55b1n (Prey. 294.30bn).
  • Chinese Exports (CNY) (Jul) Y/Y 11.2% vs. Exp. 14.8% (Prey. 17.3%)
  • Chinese Imports (CNY) (Jul) Y/Y 14.7% vs. Exp. 22.6% (Prey. 23.1%)
  • Chinese Balance of Trade (USD) (Jul) 46.70bln vs. Exp. 45.00bln (Prey. 42.75bn).
  • Chinese Exports (USD) (Jul) Y/Y 7.2% vs. Exp. 11.0% (Prey. 11.3%)
  • Chinese Imports (USD) (Jul) Y/Y 11.0% vs. Exp. 18.0% (Prey. 17.2%)

Top Asian News

  • HNA’s Singapore Partner Is Said to Explore Scaling Back Ties
  • China Developers Sink as World’s Biggest Stock Rally Loses Steam
  • Sony Bonds Lose Allure as Spread Too Tight, Says BNP Paribas
  • Goldman Sachs TP Upgrade Pushes China Harmony to 11-Month High
  • Hong Kong Stocks Advance on Earnings Optimism and Auto Sales
  • Malaysia Weighs Dual-Class Shares as Exchanges Battle for IPOs
  • Reliance Is Said to Plan Refinancing as $12 Billion Debt Matures
  • Profit-Taking? SoftBank Drags Topix Down Despite Strong Earnings

Directionless trade in another quiet summer trading session (Eurostoxx 50 flat), material names falling after mixed Chinese trade data as exports and imports missed expectations. Pandora among the worst performers in Europe following soft financial results. BTPs outperforming largely as yields fall to 6-week lows. As a reminder, yesterday's monthly bond purchases from the ECB showed the ECB bought more Italian bonds in July than the capital key would imply, as it bought EUR 9.623b1n Italian bonds, almost EUR 1.5bln more than the capital key would dictate. In turn, this has the GER-ITA 10Y spread tighten as much as 13bps.

Top European News

  • Rising U.K. Energy Imports Need Brexit Care, Centrica Says
  • ECB Redemptions Boost Average Maturity of French Bond Purchases
  • AA Hits Record Low; Credit Suisse Downgrades on Roadside Outlook
  • Standard Life Has $4.8 Billion Outflows Before Aberdeen Deal
  • Siltronic Drops After Sumco Wafer Capacity Expansion Plan
  • Power Maker CEZ Boosts 2017 Earnings Forecast on Higher Margins
  • Brexit Bill Somewhere Between Zero and EU100B, Jones Says
  • U.K. Must Provide Clarity on Post-Brexit Laws, Top Judge Says

In currencies,  the Aussie saw some selling pressure following the Chinese Imports and Export misses on expectations. AUD/USD came off best levels overnight and is could look to retest 0.79. The greenback struggled throughout the US and Asian sessions, as the gains seen on Friday were retraced. Fed speech was the them in the US yesterday, however, comments from Bullard and Kashkari were largely rebuffed by markets. A marginal flight to safety further weighed on the US dollar, as twitter reports stated US satellites detected North Korea moving 2 anti-ship cruise missiles to patrol boat on the east coast over the past few days, according to officials. Both EUR & GBP gained ground against the dollar, with cable looking for a break of 1.3050, however, ran into some offers around 1.3055. EUR/USD saw similar price action, breaking through 1.18, however finding some resistance above these levels. In the Yen, a spike through Friday's post NFP range caused some escalated selling pressure in USD/JPY, as the pair broke through 110.70 overnight, bears will look to target the 110.00 handle to spark any continued downside pressure

In commodities, relatively quiet in the commodity complex with oil prices slightly firmer. Of note, industry sources noted that Saudi Arabia noted that Saudi Arabia is to cut crude allocations in September by at least 520k bpd. Australia July Port Hedland iron ore exports fell to 37.9mln tonnes vs. Prey. 43.lmln tonnes. China Commodities Trade Data showed July YTD copper and product imports fell 15.2% Y/Y to 2.62m1n tonnes.

Looking at the day ahead, there is the NFIB small business optimism index for July (103.5 expected) and the JOLTS job openings data. In China, the July CPI (1.5% yoy expected) and PPI (5.6% yoy expected) data will be out in early Wednesday morning. Notable US companies due to report include: Walt Disney, CVS Health, Gartner and Priceline.

US Event Calendar

  • 6am: NFIB Small Business Optimism, est. 103.5, prior 103.6
  • 10am: JOLTS Job Openings, est. 5,700, prior 5,666

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

If it wasn't for the fact that my exponentially increasing domestic financial responsibilities force me to act as professional as I can be, I'd be tempted to make today's EMR last no longer than a couple of sentences as all you really need to know about markets at the moment is that yesterday's move in the S&P 500 (+0.16%) added to the record daily run of less than 0.3% moves in either direction. It’s now 13 days since we had a larger move using daily data back to 1927. The second longest streak of this length was of 10 days which has happened twice in history. The most recent time was in England's solitary football World Cup winning year (06 Jan 1966 – 19 Jan 1966), and the other between 15 Nov 1961 and 29 Nov 1961. So these continue to be remarkable financial times we are living through.

To put the steady but relentless rally in the S&P in context, it is now 73 trading days since the S&P increased by more than 1% in any one day. Give it another 7 days and we will beat the prior record set back in November 06 and March 07. Although, given the current lull in the activity (VIX now back to below 10), we might even get close to the 100 day record set back in mid-July 1995 to early Dec 1995.

To punctuate the quiet, this week we will get to hear the latest thinking from a few Fed speakers. Overnight, both the St. Louis Fed president Bullard and Minneapolis Fed Chief Kashkari sounded a bit dovish. On rates, Bullard noted that the Fed funds rate target is “likely to remain appropriate over the near term”, considering recent inflation data has “surprised to the downside”. On balance sheet unwind, Bullard is ready to start the Fed’s balance sheet unwind in September and Kashkari noted that shrinking the bank’s large portfolio will be very orderly and won’t be disruptive to financial markets. On inflation, Kashkari said “inflation has been coming up short, relative to our 2% target” and cautioned “that actually matters…because in future crisis, we really need people to believe in us".

This morning in Asia, China’s July exports were lower than expectations at 7.2% yoy (vs. 11% expected; 11.3% prior), although imports were also lower at 11% yoy (vs. 18% expected), leading to a stronger trade surplus of $46.7bn (vs. $45bn expected). Asian markets sold off a little post the Chinese data, but recovered to be slightly down as we type. Across the region, the Nikkei (-0.3%), Kospi (-0.1%), and Shanghai Comp (-0.2%) are lower with the Hang Seng (+0.1%) slightly higher.

Back to last night's session and US bourses strengthened further, with the S&P 500 and the Dow up slightly (+0.1% to +0.2%) and remaining at record levels. That said, trading volume was thin in the S&P, with the daily value traded at 0.14% of the index market cap, which is only ~40% of the historical average. Within the S&P, modest gains in consumer staples and IT were largely offset by losses in energy (-0.9%) and financials (-0.2%). In Europe, the Stoxx 600 dipped 0.1%, with a rise in the materials sector (+0.7%) largely shrugging off the softer German industrial data. Across the region, the DAX slipped -0.3%, while other markets were slight up, with the FTSE 100 (+0.3%), CAC (+0.1%) and the Italian FTSE MIB (+0.4%) higher.

As a stock take for European reporting season thus far, DB’s Wolf von Rotberg notes that of the 74% of Stoxx 600 companies that have reported, 54% have beaten EPS expectations (in line to historical average, but lower than 1Q at 61%). EPS growth is running at 19%, ahead of the 8% consensus expectation for the companies that have reported so far. EPS beats have been strongest for tech (69%), energy (67%) and financials (66%, particularly banks). Excluding energy and financials, EPS growth does drop to ~3% for companies that have reported thus far.

Over in government bonds, yields were broadly lower, with the German bunds (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: -1bps), Italian BTPs (2Y: unch; 10Y: -2bps) and OATs (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: -1bp) all slightly lower at the long end of the curve. Gilts were down 4bps at both the 2Y and 10Y after weaker consumer data (see below). Over in the US, the 10Y fell marginally (-1bp) yesterday, but has recovered a little this morning.

Turning to currency markets and the Euro continues to edge higher, with the Euro/USD up 0.2% and Euro/Sterling up 0.3% to 0.905, which represent a ~7.5% gain since May and now getting close to its one year high of 0.9118. Elsewhere, the US dollar index dipped 0.1% overnight. In commodities, WTI oil slipped 0.4%, following reports of rebounding Libyan supply and compliance issues with promised OPEC production cuts only 86% in July. Currently, producers have gathered in Abu Dhabi for a two day meeting to discuss oversupply issues. So watch for any headlines. Elsewhere, precious metals were broadly unchanged (Gold +0.1%; Silver flat), while industrial metals were up modestly (Copper +0.7%; Aluminium +2.5%), Iron ore has continued to increase, up 2.8% overnight to be ~43% higher than its June low.

Away from the markets, as part of its annual stress tests designed by the Fed and FHFA,Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would need to draw between $34.8bn to $99.6bn in Treasury aid under a "severely adverse" scenario, with key assumptions including: i) a 6.5% decline in GDP, ii) a rise in the unemployment rate to 10% and iii) a 25% fall in home prices.

Elsewhere, the rhetoric from North Korea has heated up, with its Foreign Minister declining to negotiate over its nuclear program until the US ceases hostile policies and noted that its nuclear weapons will only be used against US and its allies, and that the state will make the US pay dearly.

Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, consumer credit was lower than expectations, up US $12.4bn in June (vs. $15.8bn expected; $18.3bn previous), leading the throughyear growth rate to slow a tenth to 5.7% yoy. Monthly growth in non-revolving credit fell to a 12-month low and was mainly responsible for the slowdown in overall growth. In Germany, the June industrial production stats were lower than expectations at -1.1% mom (vs. 0.2% expected) and 2.4% yoy (3.7% expected). However, despite the decline in June, annualized growth in output through Q2 stood at a sturdy 7.1% saar. In UK, the BRC retail sales monitor for like for like sales in July was in line at 0.9% yoy, which contrast the Visa-Markit survey earlier which pointed to a 0.8% yoy decline in consumer spending in July (vs. -0.2% previous, longest streak of declines since 2013). Elsewhere, the Halifax house price index rose 0.4% mom in July (vs. 0.3% expected), with the throughyear growth in the three-month average in line at 2.1% yoy.

Looking at the day ahead, Germany’s June trade balance (23bn expected), current account balance (24.5bn expected), export and import stats (both 0.2% mom expected) are due in early morning. France will also report its June trade balance and current account figures. Over in the US, there is the NFIB small business optimism index for July (103.5 expected) and the JOLTS job openings data. In China, the July CPI (1.5% yoy expected) and PPI (5.6% yoy expected) data will be out in early Wednesday morning. Notable US companies due to report include: Walt Disney, CVS Health, Gartner and Priceline. Closer to home, we have Deutsche Post due to report in Europe.


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